December 31, 2017

Apple Watch celebrates the New Year with fireworks on the clock face

As the hours roll around in each timezone, Apple Watch owners are discovering a new easter egg to celebrate the New Year on their wrists. When the clock strikes twelve, the Apple Watch watch face lights up with animated fireworks.

It’s no secret that 2017 was a huge year for Apple, with the introduction of 3 new iPhone models, new iPads, new Macs, a new Apple Watch, and much more. We covered it all right here at 9to5Mac, day in and day out, diving deep into various topics with news, reviews, how-tos, and more.

Every week we highlight the top stories of that week, but seeing that this is the last day of 2017, we’re going to outline the top stories of 2017…

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2017 was an incredibly active year for Apple retail, as the company’s refreshed store design continued its rollout across the world. As the calendar comes to a close, let’s take a look at every store location opened under the guidance of Apple’s retail chief Angela Ahrendts.

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December 30, 2017

Earlier this week, Apple issued a candid apology for how it handled the rollout of a feature that balances iPhone performance with aging batteries. The apology came after growing resentment from some users and a slew of lawsuits.

In addition to the “We’re sorry,” Apple also announced discounted battery replacements for affected users.

Some are saying, however, that Apple’s apology didn’t go far enough…

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After growing controversy, Apple this week issued a public apology for how it handled slowing down older iPhones in conjunction with aging batteries. In addition to its apology, Apple also said that it would be lowering the price of iPhone battery replacements from $79 to $29.

Originally, the company said it would start the lower-priced iPhone battery replacements in late January, but you can actually take advantage of it now…

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December 29, 2017

No matter your goals, staying focused on a fitness regimen doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Luckily, Apple’s App Store has just the apps that can help you hit your fitness goals. Armed with an iPhone in hand or an Apple Watch on the wrist, you can make your fitness New Year’s Resolutions a new habit.

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A new report today from The Wall Street Journal details how Tencent’s hugely popular WeChat app is working with the government to launch official, digital IDs in China. Could disruption from tech companies in sectors like this be a sign of services Apple might offer in the future?

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The iPhone was the best-selling tech product of 2017, says a USA Today report, outselling all the products in slots #2 to #5 combined. It follows news that Apple dominated device activations leading up to Christmas.

According to Daniel Ives, an analyst with GBH Insights, who compiled the chart for USA Today, Apple will sell 223 million iPhones in 2017, up from 211 million phones the previous year …

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If you’re interested in picking up a new iMac Pro today, check your local Apple Store. Units of the base model 8-core iMac Pro are now available for in-store pickup at US-based Apple Stores. expand full story

New York plans to safeguard net neutrality by withholding state contracts from violators [U]

Update: New York’s governor Andrew Cuomo has now signed an executive order implementing the plan. The Verge notes that Montana’s governor has done the same.

The repeal of net neutrality rules may allow Internet service providers and mobile carriers to block or throttle services at will, reserving the fastest bandwidth for companies who pay the toll, but the law may not be the only way to keep companies in line …

Class action lawsuits against Apple for intentionally slowing iPhones now 15 and counting

It didn’t take long between Apple confirming that it deliberately slowed older iPhones to the first class action lawsuit. More quickly followed, and the latest tally appears to be 15 separate cases …

After Apple reduced its iPhone battery-swap price to just $29 as part of an apology for its handling of the performance-throttling controversy, iFixit has done the same for its DIY kits for older devices …

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A new patent application by Apple hints at RF-based long-range wireless charging, along the lines of the Energous system which was recently granted FCC approval.

As is usual with Apple patent applications, the wording is as general as possible – encompassing both wired and wireless charging – but the problem it aims to solve does appear to be one that arises primarily with long-range wireless charging …

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December 28, 2017

Hands-on: Bento Stack is a great organization tool for Apple accessories

From 9to5Toys:

Apple accessories, there are tons of them. You have Apple Watch bands, Apple Pencil, iPad chargers, iPhone and MacBook chargers, and more. Anytime you leave the house or go on vacation, if you’re anything like me, there’s a mad rush to make sure you don’t forget any cables to keep everything charged.

Apple opened its new flagship retail store in Chicago earlier this year to much acclaim, but as the weather turns from fall to winter, a design oversight is causing some problems. As reported by Chicago blog Spundart, Apple seemingly didn’t design the MacBook Air-like roof of the store to account for snow…in Chicago…

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Report: Broader iPhone lineup creates more stability for AAPL

A report today from Reuters takes a look at Apple’s broadening iPhone lineup and some of the benefits of its new strategy.

Apple today published an open letter on its website apologizing for how it handled performance on iPhones with older batteries, specifically “how we have communicated that process.”

We’ve been hearing feedback from our customers about the way we handle performance for iPhones with older batteries and how we have communicated that process.

We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize. There’s been a lot of misunderstanding about this issue, so we would like to clarify and let you know about some changes we’re making.

To make up for the confusion, Apple is offering cheaper battery replacements and says a future iOS update will include features that offer more insight into battery health.

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This week Benjamin and Zac look back at Apple’s 2017, how it compared to our predictions, and what we expect next year.

9to5Mac’s Happy Hour podcast is available on iTunes and Apple’s Podcasts app, StitcherGoogle Play Music, or through our dedicated RSS feed for Overcast and other podcast players.

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The latest lawsuit to be filed against Apple in the battery throttling controversy looks to be the most serious to date. A French environmental group has hit Apple with litigation over alleged planned obsolescence. If found guilty, Apple executives could actually face jail time in addition to millions in fines.

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China has today shared that it will be offering a temporary tax exemption for foreign companies. This news comes a week after the US tax overhaul passed through Congress.

The New York Times reports that China announced the new tax break for foreign companies, but with limited details. The exemption will be retroactive from January 1, 2017.

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Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts has published a new article on LinkedIn, and in it she discusses the Apple Store’s evolution over the past few years. Ahrendts specifically hypes the recently launched ‘Today at Apple’ initiative rolled out this year at all Apple Stores.

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Bizarre European ruling allows Italian designers to use Steve Jobs brand and Apple-like logo

A truly bizarre EU ruling has allowed two Italian brothers to sell clothes and accessories under the Steve Jobs brand name, complete with a variation on the Apple logo …

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